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News » Rangers-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-23

Rangers-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-23

Rangers-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-23
The Toronto Blue Jays have yet to lose a series this season. An extra-inning victory in their last contest put them in position to keep that streak going.

On Thursday night, the Blue Jays look for their second straight victory in the finale of a three-game home set with the Texas Rangers.

Though it's early, Toronto (11-5) owns the American League's best record, has yet to lose consecutive games and has won all four of its series to open 2009.

The Blue Jays can make it five straight after posting an 8-7, 11-inning win on Wednesday. Toronto needed extra innings after the Rangers (6-8) scored three runs in the ninth off closer B.J. Ryan to tie the game.

Despite the win, manager Cito Gaston might be forced to find a new closer as Ryan's ERA rose to 11.12 after he blew his second save in four chances.

"He's having trouble with his control to me," Gaston said. "I don't know if he's hurting or not hurting, but we'd certainly like to see him do a little bit better than that."

Kevin Millar singled home Vernon Wells with the winner off Darren O'Day, who was claimed by Texas off waivers from the New York Mets earlier in the day.

Alex Rios and Jose Bautista each had four hits, while Rod Barajas hit a pair of two-run homers for Toronto, which leads the AL with 99 runs - seven more than Texas.

Aaron Hill added two hits to raise his average to .370. He has hit safely in 15 of the Blue Jays' 16 games.

Rios is 7-for-20 with three RBIs in his last four games and 3-for-9 against Texas' scheduled starter Kevin Millwood.

Though Millwood (1-1, 1.17 ERA) is 1-3 with a 6.45 ERA in seven starts versus the Blue Jays, he pitched well in his last start.

In a 2-0 loss to Kansas City on Saturday, the right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in nine innings for his 19th complete game, but was outpitched by Zack Greinke, who struck out 10 and held the Rangers to five hits.

"It was tough. It was one of those nights," said Millwood, who's allowed three runs in 23 innings over three starts. "There's not much you can do."

Toronto will counter with Scott Richmond (1-0, 3.48), who makes his first start since allowing one earned run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 12-2 win at Minnesota on April 15.

"He didn't give up. He just keeps battling out there," Gaston said of the 29-year-old Vancouver, British Columbia native.

The right-hander, who went 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA in five starts last season, makes his first appearance against the Rangers.

Michael Young went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs on Wednesday for Texas, which had won two in a row. Young is a lifetime .335 hitter against Toronto.

Ian Kinsler's average dropped to .407 after having his eight-game hitting streak snapped by going 0-for-6 Wednesday for the Rangers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 23, 2009

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